Iraqi politician demands al-Maliki investigation after WikiLeaks

Iraqi politician demands al-Maliki investigation after WikiLeaks

A leading Iraqi politician demanded on Sunday an investigation into any connection between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and torture operations in Iraqi prisons, in the wake of the release of Pentagon documents published by WikiLeaks at the weekend, DPA reported.

"We have to look into the nature of those documents, to make sure of their correctness," said politician Safia al-Suheil, a leading member of the Iraqiya bloc that is lead by former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi.

Allawi and his rival al-Maliki have been vying for the top post in government since the March 7 parliamentary elections, which produced a still-unresolved stalemate nearly eight months later.

The leaks were dumped into public domain amid a backdrop of deep political tension in Iraq.

According to Iraqi news website Aswat al-Iraq, al-Suheil called on "all those who were involved in committing such violations from the Iraqi side" pay compensation to those who were affected by the reported abuse.

The WikiLeaks documents, published online on Friday, have been a sensation in Iraq, with analysts arguing that the newly-released information could derail al-Maliki's efforts for another term in office.

But according to head of the secularist Iraqi Ahrar party, Baha'a al-A'araji, the leaks "won't undermine the chances of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to gain a second term in office," in statements to Aswat al-Iraq.

"This issue is not new in Iraq, as the mass media had published such incidents in the past," he added.

Sunni lawmaker and Iraqi Member of Parliament Mohammed Iqbal similarly echoed other politicians, telling the German Press Agency dpa that the leaks were "nothing new."

"I do not think the Iraqi people will be surprised by the number of facts pointing to abuses carried out by the US military over the course of the years of occupation because every Iraqi has an abuse story to tell," he said.

The leaks hint at al-Maliki's connections to the rampant abuse of Iraqi detainees at the hands of Iraqi security forces and operations carried out by so-called death squads.

But al-Maliki's camp has tried to quell the controversy around the leaked documents by characterising them as as an attempt to discredit the prime minister by his opponents.

The documents "do not provide a single bit of evidence that the Iraqi government or Premier Nuri al-Maliki personally had behaved unpatriotically," the government statement said.

But al-Maliki's rivals were not alone in the calls for an investigation.

Rights groups have also called for an investigation into the alleged torture of detainees. US-based Human Rights Watch said Sunday that "the Iraqi government should investigate credible reports that its forces engaged in torture and systematic abuse of detainees."

Kurdish journalist Abdul-Razzaq Ali told the German Press Agency dpa that the leaks would hurt the Iraqi political process and raises questions about the territorial integrity of the country - despite the fact that much of the information was common knowledge among ordinary Iraqis. dpa str ka ayb mat Author: Aya Batrawy

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